shamanic movement

Body, Breath, Spirit, Learning, Reclaiming and Dancing our Blessings!

I woke this morning with a yearning for movement within community, for movement with meaning and intent.

 As you probably know, I DO love to move in almost any way, but sometimes my desire has a very specific quality.

A bit of history:

When I first moved to Columbia I was part of a community that freely and easily moved with Spirit, dance was part of our ritual practice.  It was within the nurturing support of this community that I learned that I was not alone in knowing that movement transforms and heals. It was also within this environment I learned that, for me, there often existed a conflict between the desires of my Spirit body and the abilities of my Flesh body which sometimes (more often that I liked) resulted in physical injury.  It was also within this environment that I learned the psychological impact that can happen when one follows the energy of Spirit without the appropriate tools or awareness to stay connected to the flesh Body and the physical Space of the Earth. It was, in part, a desire to learn how to negotiate these challenges in myself and how to support others to do the same that prompted me to pursue the education in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis (LMA) that I have dedicated myself to these last eight years.  Studying this framework of movement was my path toward knowing how to invite and be fully immersed in the healing actions of movement, safely, wholistically, wholly, integratively. Moving BodyMindSpirit as an integrated whole: learning to live life more fully has been the goal all along!

But long before I knew about LMA, I discovered the drum.

At a time when my knees could no longer tolerate the demands of dance, it was the drum that allowed me to move with Spirit.  When my physical Body could not support me in moving how my body parts felt called to move, I funneled the desire through the drum.  Drumming required me to learn to stay grounded and aware of myself, the other drummers, the movers, and the Space around us while also being lifted and moved by energy. The music of the drum was a balm to my aching body. Drumming taught me so much.

And I was so very fortunate to discover the drum in that same community I mentioned above, and to get to know and study with Pam Fleenor-Benton, to play with the women’s drum ensemble Divine Rhythm and to be supported as a woman drummer within a community of talented women drummers.  But my relationship with the drum has been somewhat neglected these last few years, for various reasons, including my pursuit of career change and education as well as those before mentioned health issues. I sometimes thought I had lost that relationship…

And yet...

as I have studied and then embodied the framework and mysteries of movement offered by LMA and as I have added the experience of so many other supportive, somatic-based psychological and physical modalities, I have learned so many ways to find the places where/when/how physical body and spiritual body are integrated. I have learned to be psychologically and physically curious and safe while exploring the unknown and the energetic.  And within this process there has been and is and will always be rhythm. My ventures that changed my focus from the drum have also informed, deepened and inspired me. Drumming. Healing. Spirit. None of it has been too far away because it is all movement.

Without movement, there is no sound, and sound invites us to move.  Movement and Sound are the essence of Life. With movement and sound we enliven!  Movement and Sound are the opportunities to see,hear, feel the energy of Spirit as it moves in all embodied things.  Without the energetic impulse of Spirit, the physical is simply matter, the human body just tissue, and yet a divinely organized, exquisite system of tissue that is made to develop and organize, to move three-dimensionally within our personal kinesphere and on this place we call Earth. Our lump of tissues that is us is designed to respond to and to make sound!

Bringing it to the present moment…

Those of you who have followed this blog in the past may have noticed that it has been a while since I’ve last posted, four months to be exact.  In these last four months I have been on a Hero’s journey of sorts, a healing crisis of physical and spiritual import.  Invited by my Higher Power, my Guides, the Divine Mother and various wise friends to slow down and meet myself, I began the process of weaving together more closely the past and the present, the inspirations of my spiritual foundation with the structures of my educational pursuits.  In other words, these past months I’ve been invited to remember “me” and join her with “me” to allow the resultant elixir of “me”. All the same person and yet transformed.

Although I have made several efforts to write about this process before this post you are reading, I could not find the words to explain what was happening...and even though I am obviously making an effort to do so with this post, I believe I am still exploring how to put the awareness offered to me these past few months into action and into the written words…if you are intrigued, stay tuned. Join me. Check in. Ask. Invite. It is a glorious adventure!

Back to the beginning of this blog…

 I woke this morning with a yearning for movement within community, for movement with meaning and intent.  And what prompted this blog post was a feeling of such thankfulness that I will have the opportunity to do exactly this on Thursday when Pam Fleenor-Benton joins me in offering a Dancing Our Blessings Tranceformotion and a desire to share my gratitude for the journey as well as all the people and community who are a part of it, now and then.

For those who might not know, Tranceformotion is the movement form that I have created out of my personal experience and the works of other creative beings that gives space to intentionally moving physically with the energies of Spirit within a trance-state.  One of the forms of work that has long inspired me is called Trance Dance: it was developed by Wilbert Alix and taught to me by a woman named Leyla Castro. For many years I shared this form of trance movement in Columbia but I stopped when I no longer felt that my skills met my expectation for the kind of support that I believe is important when guiding folks into this sort of ritual and/or spiritual experience, especially folks with history of trauma and/or physical limitations.  Although Tranceformotion is greatly influenced by Alix’s work, it is also my own creation based on the expectations I have of myself listed above and informed by my extensive training. Tranceformotion is a ritual experience that invites the participants to be embodied and present in their physical selves while also opening themselves up to energy and Spirit through their conscious use of breath. The structure of this movement form invites and supports participants to be psychologically and physically curious and safe while exploring the unknown and the energetic. Tranceformotion is a ritual, inviting deep wisdom to make itself known to the mover through breath, darkness, intention, rhythm and movement.

It is moving with community, with meaning and with intent.

In this upcoming Tranceformotion, I am thrilled to be joined by the above mentioned Pam Fleenor-Benton.  Pam and I have worked together in many creative ways over the years, in ritual and in performance.  She brings a powerful energy and committed passion to drumming. She understands intention, rhythm and movement.  This is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in ritual, trance or healing movement.

As I began the process today of preparing myself for holding, inviting, creating the vessel of intention for this upcoming ritual, I was reminded of a video that Pam shared with me some time ago which you can view here.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPLIuBy9CY

This video helped me find the words to the intention for this upcoming event:

Every step we take is rhythm.

Every

Step

We take


Is rhythm.


Our actions, our movements, our breath

all opportunities to BE the music of our lives.


She asks, “What will change if you slow down, take the time to

 listen to your every movement, hear your rhythm, move to your own beat?


With this ritual, we move

to express our gratitude for the blessings and existence of our daily lives.  

We Dance Our Blessings.


if you have a yen to move within community, to move yourself with meaning and intent and think that this event will satisfy that desire, please contact me as soon as possible to schedule a time to meet for the required pre-interview. A thirty minute pre-interview is required to ensure the safety and support of all involved.